New York, East Coast Face Power-Outage Threat from Deadly Storm

By Brian K. Sullivan | April 13, 2020

New York and the rest of the U.S. East Coast face a day of shaking trees and the threat of broken power lines as a deadly storm that hammered the South and Midwest over the weekend rolls toward large cities.

The storm unleashed a deadly string of tornadoes on at least seven states from Texas to North Carolina, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands. The twister threat on Monday will spread through the mid-Atlantic, perhaps reaching as far north as Washington. The rest of the Northeast and Ohio Valley face ferocious winds that may rip down trees and power lines.

As the coronavirus outbreak keeps many workers hunker down in their homes, the potential outages may take longer to fix.

“A few thousand feet off the ground, the winds will be hurricane force,” said Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. “We are going to have some concern for power outages and downed trees. With so many people working remotely, that is going to be a concern.”

On Sunday, tornadoes killed at least 18, the Weather Channel reported. Power outages covered parts of 15 states, including the entire South, according to the website PowerOutage.US. The massive system spun across the central U.S. with hail and high winds from Texas to North Carolina. It dropped across the Great Plains and upper Midwest and is still blanketing northern Michigan and Minnesota. Tornado watches extend from Virginia to Florida, and wind advisories reach from Missouri and Iowa to Massachusetts and Maine.

While many flights are canceled because of the virus lockdown, planes operating in the eastern U.S. will have a hard time because of tremendous turbulence, Orrison said.

Northern New England, where 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow fell last week, also faces a flood threat as warm rain washes a lot of that away through the course of the day, Orrison said. Streams in the mountain valleys of New Hampshire and Maine may turn to torrents as the warm wind and rain sweeps over.

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